Massachusetts has a fantastic reputation when it comes to education.
It is home to a plethora of prestigious and top rated colleges.
Those that are looking to gain admission to a premier university on the East Coast should consider attending one of the military schools in Massachusetts.
The state is home to Hillside School which begins accepting cadets as early as the 4th grade.
Meanwhile, Worcester Academy and Springfield Commonwealth Academy provide high school / upper school academics along with a year of postgraduate studies.
Moreover, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay features advanced college studies in maritime-related careers.
Learn more about the best military schools in Massachusetts based on reputation, academics, and extracurricular activities.
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#1. Hillside School
- Location: 404 Robin Hill St, Marlborough, MA 01752
- Founded: 1901
- Grades: 4-9
- # of Students: 150
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 4:1
- Official Website: https://www.hillsideschool.net/
Hillside School is unusual in that the prep school in Massachusetts begins accepting applicants as early as the 4th grade.
In general, most college preparatory schools do not open admissions until 6th grade at the earliest.
As a result, you can get a head start on a higher education in Massachusetts by enrolling in Hillside School.
The prep school, like most institutions in the state, has a long history that goes back to the beginning of the 20th century.
The purpose of Hillside School is to provide the finest educational experience possible in a structured yet supportive environment.
Hillside School is open to day students as well as features a boarding school extension.
Regardless, both programs are only open to male students between the grade levels 4-9.
The institution was founded by two sisters that were seeking to establish a self-sustainable school for boys that would promote practicality as well as compassion.
Consequently, Hillside School delivers an impressive curriculum for older elementary and middle school students.
The prep school encourages students to take risks with the knowledge that failure is inevitable yet also an important ingredient to the learning process.
Hillside School preaches the tenets of determination, tolerance, and compassion in every study.
The school maintains extremely small class sizes (4:1 student to faculty ratio) with a curriculum that has general requirements yet is tailored to each boy’s needs.
Lastly, Hillside School presents a well-rounded education by also promoting extracurricular and spiritual-based participation.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Hillside School in Massachusetts resides on a gorgeous 150-acre campus in Marlborough.
The small community is a short distance west of Boston and has an outstanding relationship with secondary schools in the region.
In fact, the secondary school placement rate at Hillside School is outstanding if you are looking to attend Milton Academy, St. Marks, or Phillips Andover.
The institution is accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) as well as the Association of Boarding Schools (TABS).
The boys boarding school in Massachusetts seeks students that are looking for a more challenging curriculum.
Nonetheless, the academy also supports those with mild learning disabilities, like ADHD.
Additionally, Hillside School offers English as a Second Language for incoming international students and Advanced Transition English for native speakers.
Hillside School is not the most affordable as day students spend more in tuition ($35,400) than many boarding students at other institutions.
Meanwhile, 5-day boarding students spend on-average $52,700 for a year of education while full-time, 7-day residents require $61,200.
There is a supplement to standard tuition fees if families are unable to afford the high priced tuition, room and board.
Hillside School “Tutorials” are available in multiple subjects and families pay for each session separately.
It is a means to an affordable education if the parent is unable to afford the day or boarding school rate.
Like most boarding schools, a non-refundable deposit secures a spot at the school along with going through the motions of the traditional application process.
Contact Hillside School at (508) 485-2824 for more information.
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#2. Springfield Commonwealth Academy
- Location: 1 Ames Hill Dr, Springfield, MA 01105
- Founded: 2012
- Grades: 6-12 / Postgraduate
- # of Students: 90
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 3:1
- Official Website: https://www.hillsideschool.net/
Springfield Commonwealth Academy (SCA) is another prep school worth considering in Massachusetts.
The school begins accepting students at the 6th grade level and is divided between a middle school and high school.
Furthermore, students have the option of spending one postgraduate year on campus before advancing to a post-secondary institution.
Springfield Commonwealth Academy gives students the opportunity to uncover their passion in life and take control of that future.
The curriculum meets traditional college preparatory school demands with plenty of extracurricular activities available to students.
Moreover, Springfield Commonwealth Academy promotes community involvement which is a substantial portion of your education at the prep school.
Students gain knowledge by continuously participating in activities outside the classroom and develop real world skills.
For this reason, students that excel the most at the prep school are self-driven and determined to stand out among the rest of their class.
While extracurricular activities are at the foundation of Springfield Commonwealth Academy, its a privilege and only granted after students meet or exceed academic expectations.
Thus, classroom learning always comes first along with civic engagement.
Springfield Commonwealth Academy students have participated in emergency food relief aid, benefit walks, and homeless shelter assistance.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Springfield Commonwealth Academy is among the best schools in Massachusetts.
The college prep school features extraordinarily small class sizes (3:1 student to faculty ratio) with a total enrollment of less than 100 students.
Consequently, the prep school is very selective and competition for admissions.
Springfield Commonwealth Academy welcomes families and students from diverse backgrounds.
Those that are interested in attending should begin by completing an online application.
Secondly, applicants must submit transcripts, standardized test scores, and recommendations.
The higher your grades and the more extracurriculars, the stronger likelihood that you’ll stand out among a crowded pool of candidates.
Springfield Commonwealth Academy is committed to making the academics affordable for every family.
Tuition is reason for a college prep school if you attend the middle school ($14,500 per year) or high school ($19,500) as a day student.
Of course, being a boarding student presents far more incentives yet is also way more expensive.
The average boarding student in 2020-21 spent $52,900 (grades 6-8) and $57,900 (grades 9-12) on room, board, and dining.
The tuition rate includes dormitory housing, meal plan, private study, activities, as well as local transportation.
Spring Commonwealth Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
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#3. Worcester Academy
- Location: 81 Providence St, Worcester, MA 01604
- Founded: 1834
- Grades: 6-12 / Postgraduate
- # of Students: 600
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 8:1
- Official Website: https://www.worcesteracademy.org/#/
Worcester Academy is a historic private school in Massachusetts.
It is one of the oldest boarding schools in America as Worcester Academy first opened its doors in 1834.
The coed college preparatory school is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.
It exists on a 73-acre campus in Worcester, Massachusetts that is divided into numerous parcels, including a middle school and high school / upper school.
There are multiple buildings on campus listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the campus has undergone several renovations in the last two decades.
The enrollments at both schools are kept low to maintain small class sizes, a hallmark of college prep schools.
Smaller class sizes provide instructors with more personal time interacting, tutoring, and mentoring each student.
Worcester Academy is like Springfield Commonwealth Academy in that students have the option of spending a postgraduate year on campus before departing for college.
The experience is optional and depends on personal needs and interests.
Worcester Academy does not designate living on campus mandatory and usually depends on whether families can afford tuition, room, and board.
According to the institution, approximately 1/3 of the students in the upper school live on campus.
Worcester Academy features a diverse student population with nearly 100 international students on average from close to 30 different countries.
Visual & Performing Arts
Worcester Academy primarily stands out from other top prep schools in Massachusetts based on its fine arts program.
The prep school has evolved from offering the fine arts program as an extracurricular activity to incorporating it into the full curriculum.
For this reason, Worcester Academy is highly sought after for its fine arts whereas most prep schools tend to overlook these subjects.
Worcester Academy had glee clubs and orchestras in the 1890s, and the first play was performed on campus directly at the turn of the 20th century.
Students are made aware of the proud and strong performing arts tradition at Worcester Academy.
Thus, students are encouraged to enroll in classes provided through the Visual and Performing Arts Department.
There is much to learn about the courses and extracurricular activities available through the fine arts program.
Interested students can learn more about the offerings by visiting the official webpage of the department.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Worcester Academy represents the motto “Achieve the Honorable.”
There are many students that wish to attend Worcester Academy and the institution is mildly selective as it accepts approximately 65% of its applicants.
Worcester Academy was all-male until 1856, and also had a phase (1890-1974) where female students were not allowed.
However, the institution has changed its stance and been coed since 1974.
Those that are interested in attending Worcester Academy should inquire directly with the prep school to express interest.
Secondly, schedule a virtual tour and interview to meet with an academic advisor to discuss expectations and requirements of the application process.
It is important to make yourself aware of application deadlines and other obligations since enrollment is competitive.
Worcester Academy is incredibly expensive for a prep school as day students spend far more than most boarding schools.
The average middle school student needs $36,400 and the average upper school student $39,400 for day admission.
Meanwhile, boarding students spend $57,315 (5-day residents) and $69,340 (7-day residents) per year on their education.
The price of admission includes all meals for boarding students and day students receive daily lunch.
Families that would like to send their son or daughter to Worcester Academy yet are concerned about affordability should contact the financial aid department.
The prep school in Massachusetts does work on families on a case-by-case basis which is why contacting the school directly is important.
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#4. Massachusetts Maritime Academy
- Location: 101 Academy Dr, Buzzards Bay, MA 02532
- Founded: 1891
- Grades: Undergraduate
- # of Students: 1,100
- Student / Teacher Ratio: 15:1
- Official Website: https://www.maritime.edu/
Massachusetts Maritime Academy is the one true military school in Massachusetts.
While most of the institutions on the list are technically college preparatory schools that could get you into a federal service academy or military institute, MMA provides a true military experience.
The school is located on Cape Cod with tremendous access to the Atlantic Ocean and all the East Coast has to offer.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy has prepared men and women for service for over 100 years.
The military school in Massachusetts was originally founded in 1891, designating it as the second oldest state maritime academy in the United States.
The public college prepares cadets for maritime-related fields on land or sea depending on personal interests.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy was initially created to graduate deck and engineering officers for the U.S. Merchant Marine.
However, the military school has since expanded its curriculum to cover the interests of cadets that would like to work in the private sector.
For this reason, graduates may want to consider a career in the military after graduation yet are not required to do so.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy was exclusively designed to commission officers for U.S. Marine Merchants prior to 1990.
The academy has since expanded on its original offerings in Marine Transportation and Marine Engineering.
For example, students also have the opportunity to pursue graduate programs or in departments outside maritime activities.
The sea term at Massachusetts Maritime Academy is extremely important to cadet development.
Sea terms are conducted between the academic semesters in the heart of the winter.
Cadets prepare the USTS Kennedy for sailing including loading provisions.
The USTS Kennedy ships to foreign ports to the Caribbean along with a longer excursion to the Mediterranean Sea.
Cadets spend nearly 2 months at sea as they rotate through classes and laboratory training at sea.
Moreover, students may also want to consider the exchange program available with the Shanghai Maritime Academy in China.
Cadets from the Massachusetts military school spend a few months in Shanghai taking maritime-related classes as well as participating in training activities.
At the conclusion of the program, the Chinese cadets return home with the American cadets to spend a few months learning at the U.S. campus.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy is unique in that it specializes in maritime activities as well as admits male and female cadets.
The military school in Massachusetts has utilized many training ships over the years.
The USS Enterprise (on loan from the U.S. Navy) was the first official training ship at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
Today, the military school continues to feature its own training vessels including the USTS Kennedy.
The scale model ship-handling program is one of the highlights at Massachusetts Maritime Academy which is comparable to the supertanker training school in France.
You cannot find the scale model ship-handling training program anywhere else in the United States.
Maritime training at the military school is reputable enough that the U.S. Coast Guard will remit a quarter of the sea time that is required to upgrade a deck officer’s license from Chief Mate to Master.
As a result, it presents cadets at Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a distinct advantage over the competition for college and career placement.
The school is part vocational and part traditional military prep school.
Consequently, some students challenge themselves to get the grades to receive admission to a federal service academy.
On the other hand, some elect to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces following graduation or work in the private sector.
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Regiment of Cadets
Military participation is mandatory at Massachusetts Maritime Academy where cadets get organized into the Regiment of Cadets.
The Regiment of Cadets is self-ran as cadets that earn privileges through achievement and rank supervise other cadets.
Cadets with high ranking leadership may lead the orientation of freshmen, perform room inspections, organize Morning Formation, or assume shipboard responsibilities.
“Youngies” (freshmen cadets) arrive at the military school in Massachusetts before the rest of the student population.
Cadets spend 2 weeks training in a military-style environment that is comparable to boot camp.
Additionally, the freshman orientation introduces students to shipboard / maritime safety, terminology, and culture.
Lastly, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Regimental Band and Chorus serves as the official musical ensemble for the military school.
The band participates in all ceremonial events at MMA including changes of command and military retirements.
Average Tuition / Boarding
Massachusetts Maritime Academy has reasonable tuition rates for a military school.
The in-state tuition rate applies not only to residents of Massachusetts but also Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The average in-state student spends less than $10,000 per year on tuition though that cost increases to $13,350 when you account for room and board.
Residents of other states in New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont) pay more than the in-state rate yet less than the “Maritime Regional” and out-of-state tuition.
Those that are attending Massachusetts Maritime Academy and outside New England or the “Maritime Region” average $25,990 per school year in tuition and another $13,350 in room and board.
The room and board rates are the same for every cadet, regardless of original residence or location.
Applicants that are interested in Massachusetts Maritime Academy should consult the budget worksheets to determine exact pricing.
The good news is that Massachusetts Maritime Academy is recognized as a public college and qualifies for federal student aid.
Consequently, students should apply for the FAFSA even if they have the funding available to attend Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
The FAFSA could introduce you to grants and scholarships that you do not have to pay back to the institution, unlike government loans.
You can learn more about the application process and eligibility requirements by calling the military school in Massachusetts directly at (508) 830-5000.
NOTE: If you are seeking a military experience in college yet not in a maritime-related field, consider the ROTC program at Boston College as an alternative in the region. The ROTC program serves as a detachment of the Liberty Battalion, a Reserve Officer Training Corps unit based out of Northeastern University.
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